Is Vinny the dog headed back soon to Family Guy? Not right away, but the actor who gave voice to him is. Tony Sirico—who played the Griffins’ replacement pooch for Brian in three episodes last season—is guest-starring in another episode this season, EW has learned exclusively. This time, the former star of The Sopranos will play a heightened version of himself in several live-action moments that are sprinkled into an installment of the animated Fox comedy that will air in late fall or early winter. “He is irritated about what’s being said a couple different times throughout one episode,” explains Family Guy executive producer Steve Callaghan. “Anytime someone says something about Italians, we cut to Tony Sirico in his kitchen to get his reaction.” READ FULL STORY
Tag: The Sopranos (1-10 of 15)
For the past seven years, the final scene of The Sopranos has had viewers and fans scratching their heads over what the heck happened. It was perhaps the most divisive series finale of all time, leading legions of people to think their televisions went out and spawning a plethora of close readings of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Did the guy in the ‘Members Only’ jacket whack him? Were the onion rings a crispy and delicious source of symbolism about the circle of life for Tony? What was up with Meadow’s parallel parking? Questions about that scene never ceased, and Chase’s elusiveness over Tony’s fate only furthered speculation. In-depth fan sites were spawned just over the ending alone. Even Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti in the show (and was tragically whacked episodes before the finale) thought Tony died.
Perhaps sick of answering questions about an event that happened seven years ago, Sopranos creator David Chase finally let a sliver of info out on Tony Soprano’s whereabouts at end of the HBO series. In an article on Vox, writer Martha P. Nochimson questions Chase on whether Tony dies in the finale. Chase’s simple reply: “‘He shook his head ‘no.’ And he said simply, ‘No he isn’t.'”
Sorry, Imperioli and the rest of the Tony-was-whacked believers—your theory’s debunked. Chase’s nonchalance notwithstanding, Sopranos fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Tony’s enjoying some onion rings somewhere, post-blacked-out screen.
UPDATE: Chase has issued a statement in reaction to the Vox story declaring that Tony is not, in fact, alive. Or at least he’s not-not dead. From Chase’s representative: “A journalist for Vox misconstrued what David Chase said in their interview. To simply quote David as saying, ‘Tony Soprano is not dead,’ is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true. As David Chase has said numerous times on the record, ‘Whether Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point.’ To continue to search for this answer is fruitless. The final scene of The Sopranos raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer.”
So there. Apparently Chase’s answer is … that there is no answer. Or that there shouldn’t be. Or something. “To continue to search for this answer is fruitless” — Chase is basically saying to move along, there’s nothing to see here, and to stop trying to figure out his ending. Which we all had pretty much done — until he gave an interview where he seemingly talked about his ending.
James Hibberd contributed to this report
When the HBO series ended in 2007, many questions were left unanswered for fans concerning the fate of patriarch Tony and his family when the show cut to a black screen right before the credits. Creator David Chase has said in past interviews that “there was nothing definite about what happened” in the final scene at the diner but “if you look at the final episode really carefully, it’s all there.” To this date, fans are still debating what happened. EW sat down with Michael Imperioli to discuss his new film The M Word, but we couldn’t resist asking the Emmy winner’s opinion about that last seminal moment. Spoilers obviously ahead. READ FULL STORY
The moment I finally became a fan of The Good Wife occurred just about three weeks ago. It came in the current season’s widely praised fifth episode, “Hitting The Fan.” This was the one where Will (Josh Charles) and Diane (Christine Baranski) fired Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Cary (Matt Czuchry) for plotting to start their own firm. As Will progressed from betrayal (his reaction, a symphonically-performed shock-face culminating in a downbeat “what?!”, was priceless) to “commando mode” (rallying emergency quorums; hustling clients to keep them from bolting), and as Alicia progressed from resolute yet regretful to full-on “Oh, it’s so on!” (countering Will’s counter-attacks; wooing Chum Hum; an adrenaline rush quickie with Governor Hubby), it was thrilling to watch them find new energy and purpose in their lives amid the crisis, if slightly heartbreaking to watch the former lovers, now former colleagues, become enemies. It was impossible to take a side; I wanted both to win. In a story full of such grand drama and significant developments, it was a smaller, funnier exchange between Alicia and Will that grabbed me. As a contentious phone conversation came to a close (“Go to hell!” “No, you go to hell!”), Will remembered something very important. “Oh, your daughter called,” he said, suddenly civil. “She needs you to call her school to let her go on a field trip.” “Oh. When was this?” Alicia asked, equally pleasant. “About 40 minutes ago.” “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” Click. And then war resumed.
Not a terribly ingenious scene, I grant you. It hewed to a familiar screwball comedic structure. The whiplash tonal shift; two rivals abruptly making nice or banal in a way that almost feels out of character. Except here, the moment felt true to the characters, at least as I understand them so far. It was an effective way to dramatize that their relationship was more complex than their current conflict, to show that neither of them should be defined by the crisis/concerns consuming them at present; and it was a moment that was representative of all of everything else in the show that was converting me to rabid Good Wife fandom. READ FULL STORY
In honor of the late James Gandolfini, HBO announced plans Monday to offer every season of The Sopranos on HBO On Demand for one month each, starting with season 1 in July and season 2 in August. HBO will also replay Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq, the 2007 documentary executive-produced by Gandolfini, on the Fourth of July.
Gandolfini, who died June 19 of a heart attack at age 51, was laid to rest last week at a Manhattan funeral attended by Alec Baldwin, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and nearly every actor who appeared on The Sopranos over its six-season run. Sopranos creator David Chase delivered a eulogy at the service.
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They came in suits and shorts, heels and flip-flops, somber dresses, casual T-shirts — and at least one black tank top embellished with a message hand-written in alternating red, white, and green paint: “Riposa in Pace, Capo.”
“I have to show my respect,” the tank top’s designer — Assunta, a silver-haired woman from Yonkers — said, gesturing to her handiwork. “You can read it, if you like: ‘Rest in peace, Boss.’ That’s what he is. He was the boss.”
Assunta had gathered with what seemed like all of New York City’s Italian-American community — not to mention Mario Batali, Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Chris Christie, a gaggle of Sopranos cast members, and fans of countless other ethnic backgrounds — to say goodbye to James Gandolfini, who died suddenly of a heart attack June 19.
The funeral was held at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, which stands just south of Columbia University. (“It’s by Meadow [Soprano]!” Assunta explained.) Saint John also happens to be the fourth-largest church in the world, making it one of the only sites in New York capable of holding hordes of Gandolfini’s mourners.
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Earlier this morning, friends, family, and hundreds of fans gathered to pay their respects to James Gandolfini at Manhattan’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Four mourners — Gandolfini’s wife, Deborah Lin Gandolfini; his assistant, Thomas Richardson; his acting coach, Susan Aston; and his old boss, Sopranos creator David Chase — delivered eulogies at the service.
A transcript of Chase’s speech, which he structured as a letter to his late friend, is reprinted below.
Your family asked me to speak at this service. I am so honored and touched. I’m also really scared, and I say that because you, of all people, understand this. I would like to run away and then call you four days from now from the beauty parlor. [Ed. note: That's a reference to a 2002 incident in which Gandolfini disappeared from the set of The Sopranos, eventually calling the show's production office four days later from a beauty salon in Brooklyn.]
I want to do a good job because I love you, and because you always did a good job.
I think the deal is, I’m supposed to speak about the actor, the artist, the work part of your life. Others will have spoken beautifully about the other beautiful and magnificent parts of you — father, brother, friend. That’s what I was told. I’m supposed to also speak for your cast mates, who you loved; for your crew that you loved so much; the people at HBO; and Journey. I hope I can speak for all of them and pay credit to them and to you.
Experts told me to start with a joke, recite a funny anecdote. Ha ha ha. But as you yourself so often said, “I’m not feelin’ it.” I’m too sad and full of despair. I’m running too partly because I would like to have had your advice, because I remember how you did speeches. I saw you do a lot of them at awards shows and stuff, and invariably, I think you would scratch two or three thoughts on a sheet of paper and put it in your pocket, and then not really refer to it. And consequently, a lot of your speeches didn’t make sense.
The funeral for James Gandolfini has been scheduled for Thursday in Manhattan, HBO confirmed Sunday on behalf of his family. The service will be held at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan at 10 a.m.
The 51-year-old actor, who won three Emmys for his portrayal of crime boss Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, died of a heart attack Wednesday in Rome. Gandolfini’s remains are expected to be repatriated to the U.S. as early as Monday.
Jimmy and I grew up together. We were friends since seventh grade and we went to a small high school in New Jersey. It was impossible not to love this kid. He was voted Best Looking and Class Flirt. Girls loved him because he was beautiful, inside and out. He was a great athlete and we did the plays together. Jimmy was quiet in person but explosive on stage. In my yearbook, he kind of wrote something like, “Duff, I’ll see you on Broadway.”
Fairly quickly out of college, he was working in the city and immediately started getting acting work. That was kind of just when I started modeling, and I was on MTV when he was on Broadway in A Streetcar Named Desire. Serendipitously, Jimmy and I ended up living next door to each other in the Village, so we never have not been in touch. We’ve shared experiences and milestones in our lives, so I remember him sitting on his stoop having coffee and telling me he was going to be a father for the first time.
What was so great was that he always felt connected and responsible and deeply loyal to the people he grew up with. If you were a friend of Jim’s, he remained not just friendly, but an actively engaged friend. He made an art of friendship. When I was going through my illness, he was incredible supportive. Always the first thing that he said when we saw each other was, “How you feeling? How’s your kid?” He remembered your kid. He remembered your family.
I remember going with him to the first ever Sopranos premiere at John’s Pizza, and Jimmy invited all of his buddies from high school. He was like that. He would never say, “No” to a friend. A lot of the crew on The Sopranos were friends from high school. When he first had some success, I remember him saying to the fellas, the buddies he was hanging around with, he was like, “We’re good now.” It was always him taking it for the team. READ FULL STORY
James Gandolfini’s Sopranos co-star Vincent Pastore joined EW’s Melissa Maerz on Sirius XM Thursday to talk about the legacy of Tony Soprano and working with Gandolfini. Pastore, who starred in the HBO show’s first two seasons as Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero and appeared in cameos over the following years of the series, describes Gandolfini as a generous soul who was always looking out for his castmates and friends. Clearly emotional after learning of Gandolfini’s sudden death, Pastore talks with Maerz about Gandolfini’s family — both TV and real life — and about the last time they saw each other, at the 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy relief event. A selection of their conversation is below and you can listen to clips of the interview via Soundcloud.
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Further proof that TV lovers won’t fuhgeddabout the late James Gandolfini anytime soon: Since the three-time Emmy winner’s untimely demise, sales of The Sopranos on DVD and digital download have risen dramatically on Amazon and iTunes, two of the only venues through which the show — off the air since 2007 — can be viewed today. (A&E began airing edited versions of Sopranos episodes in 2007, but the show no longer appears on the cable net’s schedule. Though the show is also available via HBO Go, HBO declines to share numbers for its streaming service.)
A $124.99, 30-disc set that contains the award-winning HBO series in its entirety has shot to the top of Amazon’s Movies & TV Best Sellers list, ranking only behind an instantly watchable version of the latest episode of Mad Men. The Sopranos: The Complete Series also tops Amazon’s DVD Best Sellers list, while The Sopranos: The Complete First Season ranks seventh and The Sopranos: Season 6, Part 2 (the series’ last set of episodes) ranks 10th. Season 6: Part 1 appears on the chart as well, at No. 14.
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It is a fate common to great actors whose most enduring success comes on television that the highest praise they receive is actually a trap concealed inside a compliment. Referring to someone’s “iconic role” or “indelible performance” can be a way of saying that a performer could really do only one thing, and his legacy is that he did it perfectly. With the sudden death of James Gandolfini at the horribly young age of 51, all of us who loved and admired his work are, naturally, going to spend a lot of time thinking about The Sopranos, 86 hours of television that was not simply the perfect marriage of actor and role, but the exceedingly rare instance of an actor expanding the possibilities of the medium by the sheer force of his talent, daring, and commitment.
There were many great TV performances before HBO chose Gandolfini over Michael Rispoli and Steven Van Zandt, the other contenders to play New Jersey waste management consultant Tony Soprano, but when viewers saw what Gandolfini was doing with the part that David Chase had given him, it was, in a way, news: The fact that television could accommodate a character like Tony, and a performance like Gandolfini’s made the medium feel bigger, less constrained, more dangerous and exciting. And it wasn’t an illusion: James Gandolfini left television in better shape than it was in when he found it.
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